Unlicensed operators in firing line as parliament agrees on Airbnb inquiry

WAtoday on 17.10.18 (EXTRACT)

The WA Labor and Liberal parties have joined forces to set up a parliamentary inquiry into regulation of the state’s short-stay accommodation industry.

Tension has erupted between owners of licensed short-stay businesses, such as hotels, serviced apartments and bed and breakfasts, and unlicensed, backyard operators who advertise through websites such as Airbnb.

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said the inquiry would aim for a bipartisan plan on the regulation of the industry.

Opposition tourism spokeswoman Libby Mettam backed the decision.

“The sector now includes operators ranging from people renting out their spare room to backpackers, to hotel chains and, as a result, the issues are complex,” she said.

“While there are outstanding issues where hotels and resorts are competing with operators without the same sort of compliance burdens, we also don’t want people who are renting out their back room to have prohibitive regulatory standards imposed on them.

“We need a fairer, more level playing field, which could mean either expanding the regulatory framework or making it easier for mainstream accommodation providers.

“It adds choice in the tourism sector and fills a gap in the market especially during special events and peak holiday periods in regional WA,” she said.

But local governments were not well enough resourced to regulate the industry.

“Leaving it to individual local governments would result in inconsistencies between regions and further complicate the issue,” she said.

“A statewide policy needs to at a minimum ensure appropriate health and safety and noise control measures., READ MORE: https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/western-australia/unlicensed-operators-in-firing-line-as-parliament-agrees-on-airbnb-inquiry-20181017-p50aak.html,